RETRO POST: Originally posted on 3/5/2011
It all started when Melissa and I were driving to work a number of Mondays ago. Looking back, I'm pretty positive that I glanced down at my gas guage and noticed that I forgot to get gas like I wanted to on Sunday night. I was down to below a quarter tank. I hate getting down that far because it seems like as soon as I pass that quarter line, the gas goes faster than when it's above it. It could take a week to get from 3/4 to 1/4, but seemingly two days to get from 1/4 to having the low fuel warning light up. I hate gas guages. I hated them all the way back to when the one in my Neon stopped working and I hated the one in the Oldsmobile that bobbed back and forth depending on the incline of the road.
I didn't have time to stop before work--even if I did, I wouldn't want to go past the turn for work to Turkey Hill and then have to double back thru the vaunted Centerville Road traffic. So I settled for getting to work and getting the gas on my lunch break.
So lunch time rolls around and I make my way down to my car and head off to Turkey Hill, without really looking down at the gas guage. In my mind I knew I was below a quarter tank. It had been more than a week since I last got gas, and that's about how long I can go without playing the quarter tank game.
I pulled into Turkey Hill and started pumping gas. Depending on the price, I wanted to spend around $10, no more than $15, and end up with a half a tank. As I was watching the total sold rise exponentially faster than the gallons pumped, I cursed the $3+ cost during the holiday season.
I realized that I was going to have to go $15 at the very least to get a half a tank. So it wasn't like I was not paying attention. All of the sudden the pump clicked off, like it does when your tank is full.
As much as gas guages suck, the gas pumps themselves suck more. They are dirty and it's always a hassle to get the cashier to authorize and turn them on. The buttons for pay inside or start never work. So when the pump clicked off, I figured it was more of the same.
For a moment I thought I may have had the nozzle tipped at a bad angle. I started pumping again and almost immediately it clicked again but this time I felt gas on my hands. I looked down and it had spilled out from the gas cap. Confused, I gave it one more try and it sprayed out even further.
Right away I figured the damned pump was screwed up. It happens all the time anyway. Then I thought maybe something clogged my tank, making the gas fill up and shoot out. I looked to the display and I had only pumped $14 or about 4-5 gallons. I figured either way, I'd be somewhere near a half a tank and I didn't want to fuss with it any longer. It was freezing cold and the wind was killer. If it were clogged I could just get it looked at...I had at least a week with the gas I was actually able to get into the tank.
I went inside and paid for the gas and when I came to start the car, I wanted to pay particular attention to the gas guage. When I started the car, I figured it would settle just below the half line. To my amazement, the needle flew all the way to the right and pegged full. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was sure that I was below a quarter tank when I started and if I only put 4-5 gallons, the most I could be at was somewhere inbetween a half a tank and three quarters.
I was very confused. I was absolutely sure that I was below a quarter tank when I got to work and I was double sure that I had only pumped enough to get a half tank full. But the tank appeared to be full. Gas had leaked out from the cap and shut the pump off. The guage read full.
With that being said, only one of the following could have happened:
1. Someone stole my keys while I was at work and put gas into my car without my knowledge.
2. I got gas myself and didn't realize or remember it, an indication that I've clearly lost my damn mind.
3. In a remarkable coincidence, my gas tank was clogged AND my gas gauge went defective at the same time on the same day.
4. Turkey Hill's gas pumps are defective and they are giving more gas than the display reads.
It couldn't have been number one since I had my keys on me the whole time. And who in their right mind would do that? It couldn't have been number two because I am the least crazy person I've ever met in my life. Number three was too much of a coincidence.
That leaves number four.
But would a convenience store ever allow their gas pumps, their best source of bilking customers, go haywire? They'd have to start price gouging snack foods to make up the lost revenue. I'd hate to see it come to that, Slim Jims are the greatest food of all time.